Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

inbound marketing vs outbound marketing

How Inbound Marketing is like Fishing, while Outbound Marketing is like a Chaotic Safari Hunt

Times have changed.

Technology catapulted us into a new way of gathering information. An over abundance of content swarms the web. But it is simply noise? A lot of it holds no value.

Inbound marketing cuts through the distraction and helps draw customers to you.

How can you stand out?

Inbound marketing. This means being in the right place at the right time, with the right helpful information your potential customer is looking for.

Inbound marketing is like fishing on a lazy Sunday morning.

If you’re an angler, you know that carefully selecting your fishing hole can make or break your day. You first need to research and make sure to catch the right kind of fish for your business — think buyer persona. You don’t want just any catfish that happens to be swimming by.

When you’re in the right location, you carefully position yourself, and drop your bait for lure–think valuable resources for your customer. This way, when a hungry fish swims by, they’ll know you have what they’re looking for.

See, that fish has a problem — their source of pain and frustration. They’re hungry and want to find a solution to their problem.

Luckily, you have a solution.

They come upon your bait, start nibbling, and hope to gain insight.

You offer helpful information through videos, articles, or other resources on your business’s website or portal. Your creative content is engaging them and helping them find answers.  You build trust by offering them educational content that helps their discovery process.

They haven’t made a final decision yet, but you’ve made it easy for them to see your value. Your purpose is to help the customer. They can see this now and are more confident your company can help them.

You slowly reel them in and answer their questions. You show them that you understand their pain or situation, and how your service or product can help alleviate their issue or get them on a path to relief.

Each step of the customer’s journey shows your potential customer that your brand is trustworthy and can deliver what they need.

Your tackle box is full of creative content which draws the customer to you and offers value. Value builds trust. Trust builds relationships.  

As this relationship and exchange of information progresses, it leads to you to a path of success. When you give your customer a great experience, it then can become positive word-of-mouth which helps feed the continued growth of your business.

Let’s take a look at outbound marketing. This is the traditional method that businesses used, and many still do. They’re stuck in a bog of mud, unwilling to change.

How outbound marketing is like a safari hunt, chaotic and disruptive

You’ve been off-loaded into an area without boundaries. There are all types of customers out there, and if you use a bullhorn to announce you’re nearby, just maybe, one of them will realize you’re the answer to their problem.

Let’s look at how outbound marketing is different from inbound marketing.

You’ve paid to go on safari and are driven to a prime location. You’re safely tucked into a blind knowing the animals will approach soon. The owners of the safari tour left you with an ozone machine to keep your human scent at bay. No need to remind those approaching that you’re marketers.

A prowl of jaguars or a dazzle of zebra have moved in closer. You’re stalking them, waiting for them to be within range.

Wait! It’s a potential customer. You take aim. Like a shot gun blast, your fancy ad shoots out. Your ammunition spreads. Maybe you’ll hit your target. Maybe not.

This aggressive tactic isn’t a guarantee. In fact, turns out your ad was shown to a woman in her fifties who likes to read business books, but you were hoping to reach a man in his early thirties that likes to watch history documentaries.

They scatter and run.

Outbound advertising looks like this: television ads, newspapers that are read by different buying personas, and billboards that might catch someone’s attention on their way to the airport. Oh, sorry. They forgot about you as they kicked off their shoes to go through airport security.

In outbound marketing, you push information out at people, hoping they’ll pay attention, like a child tugging on your shirt for another cookie.

Outbound marketing had its time and place…

The reality of 2020 is that people gather their information in new ways. Trying to flag down a customer will tire your arm out. Shouting out at them will wear your voice down. Broadcasting a message won’t always hit your target.

Inbound marketing is the key to growth. Draw customers in with solid SEO, content marketing that offers value, and build relationships that leave both the customer and your company with a good experience. Take time to build their trust by being the solution to their problem and caring about their outcome.

Are you stuck on a safari hunt? Maybe, it’s time to go fishing.